Shady Oak’s Student Success Strategies

Shady Oak’s Student Success Strategies


At Shady Oak Schools, we offer a unique program to develop successful attitudes, behaviors, and habits in our students. Our process is organized into seven components:

  • SMART Goals;
  • Understanding Yourself and Others;
  • Communications Skills;
  • Conflict Resolution Techniques;
  • Essential Life Skills;
  • Self-Motivation;
  • Success Tools.

Put them together and they spell SUCCESS.

Here’s how each component works:

SMART Goals System: You’ve probably heard of the SMART goal-evaluation system—making all goals Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented (or Achievable), Relevant (or Realistic), and Time-Sensitive. Such goals are the foundation of long-term success. We help our students develop their goals by building Wish Lists (that develop wishes into wants, and wants into goals worth working for) and by using a GOT process that breaks monthly Goals into weekly Objectives and Objectives into daily Targets.

Understanding Yourself and Others: Understanding what purposes one was made for is essential to success; so is understanding one’s fellow humans. To teach this concept, we use a DiSC® model (originated by Dr. William Marston of Columbia University, and today a leading personal assessment tool for businesses). Standing for Dominance (results-oriented) / Influence (relationship-oriented) / Steadiness (dependability-oriented) / Conscientiousness (quality-oriented), the model is a proven tool both for increasing personal success and for enhancing the ability to work with others.

Communication Skills: In addition to clear speaking and writing, we emphasize personal learning styles and the Love Languages concept, the latter developed by Dr. Gary Chapman as a means of understanding the sort of attention (verbal affirmation, service, gifts, quality time, or physical touch) that individuals best respond to. Effective interpersonal communication is important for relating to teachers as well as fellow students, and for doing your work so that it is well-received.

Conflict Resolution Techniques: These include specific techniques for defusing tense situations; managing stress; staying calm; controlling emotions and behavior; paying attention to one’s own feelings and the feelings of others; and being aware of and respectful of differences.

Essential Life Skills: Important for independent living, yet often overlooked by traditional education systems, these skills include budgeting, cooking, and home maintenance. Frequently taken for granted by schools and passed over by parents, such abilities can make the difference between success and failure in college and even more in life after education.

Self-Motivation: Goes hand in hand with Self-Discipline and Self-Respect as an essential quality for meeting life’s challenges. A mindset of Strengths, Motivation, Attitude, Resolve, and Tenacity spells SMART, as does a skill set of Self-Discipline, Maturity, Application, Responsibility, and Time Management. Through emphasizing these qualities and teaching students to trust their own judgment, we help them build up another set of SMARTs—effective Systems, Methods, Approaches, Resources, and Techniques—to equip them for life.

Success Tools, Applications, and Resources: Our students use Gratitude Journals to build strong positive attitudes, and weekly planners to set ongoing goals, objectives, and targets. This cultivates the right mindset, develops their skills, builds up their personal assets, and prepares them for lives of SMART SUCCESS.